High-40s/Low50's riding: more or less efficient than 70s/80s?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by (Pete Cresswell), Dec 19, 2004.

  1. Subjectively, it feels to me like I'm working harder on a given hill when it's
    cooler and my average ride speeds are down.

    OTOH, it seems like I read somewhere that optimal body performance happens
    somewhere in the mid fifties.

    Also it seems like the colder the air, the denser the air - and the more O2 per
    lungful....but it *feels* harder.

    The extra clothing? My imagination?


    --
    PeteCresswell
     
    Tags:


  2. Bill Sornson

    Bill Sornson Guest

    (Pete Cresswell) wrote:
    > Subjectively, it feels to me like I'm working harder on a given hill
    > when it's cooler and my average ride speeds are down.
    >
    > OTOH, it seems like I read somewhere that optimal body performance
    > happens somewhere in the mid fifties.
    >
    > Also it seems like the colder the air, the denser the air - and the
    > more O2 per lungful....but it *feels* harder.
    >
    > The extra clothing? My imagination?


    Yup. More stuff + more stiff = more effort.

    Perception is 94.6% reality.
    --
    BS (no, really)
     
  3. Jeff Starr

    Jeff Starr Guest

    On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 15:11:53 GMT, "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Subjectively, it feels to me like I'm working harder on a given hill when it's
    >cooler and my average ride speeds are down.
    >
    >OTOH, it seems like I read somewhere that optimal body performance happens
    >somewhere in the mid fifties.
    >
    >Also it seems like the colder the air, the denser the air - and the more O2 per
    >lungful....but it *feels* harder.
    >
    >The extra clothing? My imagination?


    I know for me, my speed goes down and my heart rate up in cold
    weather.
    For me it has to be both the extra clothing and the running nose, that
    makes breathing harder.
    So, I get a little better workout in colder weather.


    Life is Good!
    Jeff
     
  4. > The extra clothing? My imagination?

    Vasoconstriction reduces any gains in air density you may have had.

    Phil
     
  5. <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > > The extra clothing? My imagination?

    >
    > Vasoconstriction reduces any gains in air density you may have had.


    Let me rephrase that. Vasoconstriction eliminates any gains through air
    density you may have had.

    "Phil, Squid-in-Training"
     
  6. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    Didn't we just have this thread, with some opining that cool weather
    riding was more efficient (due to losing "excess" heat faster to cold
    air) while others thought the opposite? I know I feel and ride much
    better when it's hot, and really like riding in 80-90F teperatures.
     
  7. "Tim McNamara" wrote:
    > Didn't we just have this thread, with some opining that cool weather
    > riding was more efficient (due to losing "excess" heat faster to cold
    > air) while others thought the opposite? I know I feel and ride much
    > better when it's hot, and really like riding in 80-90F temperatures.


    68F is my optimum. Anything from about 57 to 79 is really nice.

    Art Harris
     
  8. On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 15:11:53 GMT, "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >Subjectively, it feels to me like I'm working harder on a given hill when it's
    >cooler and my average ride speeds are down.
    >
    >OTOH, it seems like I read somewhere that optimal body performance happens
    >somewhere in the mid fifties.
    >
    >Also it seems like the colder the air, the denser the air - and the more O2 per
    >lungful....but it *feels* harder.
    >
    >The extra clothing? My imagination?


    Dear Pete,

    It's not your imagination. Riders usually go slower as the
    temperature drops for several reasons.

    A) Temperature comfort--going slower reduces wind chill
    B) Breathing comfort--cold air is denser, but much less fun
    C) Clothing aerodynamics--winter clothes = wind drag
    D) Raw wind drag--density affects drag more than breathing

    The wind drag of the denser cold air is probably the biggest
    factor.

    http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

    Choose hands on the drops, take the defaults (such as 160
    watts), and change the temperature from 81F to 36F--the
    calculator above will predict a half-mile-per-hour drop from
    19.6 to 19.1 mph:

    To give a broader idea, here are the predicted break points
    for the defaults:

    19F 18.9 mph
    27F 19.0 mph
    36F 19.1 mph
    44F 19.2 mph
    53F 19.3 mph
    62F 19.4 mph
    71F 19.5 mph
    81F 19.6 mph
    90F 19.7 mph

    At 19.6 mph on an 81F summer evening, my daily 15.2 mile
    ride would take 46:32.

    At 19.1 mph on a 36F winter afternoon, the same ride would
    take 47:45, 73 more seconds, about a half-mile lag. (My
    records show this kind of seasonal variation in speed with
    depressing regularity.)

    To raise the default rider's speed from 19.1 to 19.6 mph at
    36F, the 160 watt power would have to rise to 172 watts, a
    7.5% increase in effort, much more than would be expected by
    any change in breathing due to air density.

    For bicycles, any slight change in the air exaggerates wind
    drag more than any other factor. By craftily raising the
    altitude from the default 1150 feet to 5000 feet, the rider
    can increase his 19.6 mph speed at 160 watts and 81F to 20.4
    mph.

    Carl Fogel
     
  9. Marvin

    Marvin Guest

    Tim McNamara wrote:
    > Didn't we just have this thread, with some opining that cool weather
    > riding was more efficient (due to losing "excess" heat faster to cold
    > air) while others thought the opposite? I know I feel and ride much
    > better when it's hot, and really like riding in 80-90F teperatures.


    I think a quick glance at the 2003 Tour (where Armstrong suffered like
    a dog in the high temperatures and Ulrich really disliked the cold)
    should show that some riders adapt better to cold or heat than others.
    Me, I can't cope with riding when it's warm enough to sweat, I'd much
    rather have a crisp clear day.

    On a related note, quite a lot of riders do suffer from mild
    exercise-induced asthma (hence the preponderance of Salbutamol amongst
    the pro peloton). Anyone claiming that the cold causes them wheezing
    or excess phlegm is possibly very mildly asthmatic and doesn't know it.
    cheers
    marvin
     
  10. Jim Smith

    Jim Smith Guest

    "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Also it seems like the colder the air, the denser the air - and the more O2 per
    > lungful....but it *feels* harder.


    Unfortunately, you don't get extra O2 per lungfull. As the air enters
    your trachea it soon encounters a fork, half the air going to the
    right, half going to the left. As the air continues deeper into your
    lungs it keeps comming to these splits, 25 or 30 of them. At the end
    are little sacks, just a few thousandths of an inch accross, where the
    gas exchange with your blood occurs. The air is moving primarily by
    diffusion rather than bulk flow at this point. By the time the air
    reaches these alveoli, it is at body temperature and 100% humidity, no
    matter what the temperature outside. So, the ambient temperature does
    not affect the O2 concentration deep in your lungs where it matters.
    The only thing that affects the concentration of O2 in the lungs is
    the total air pressure (lower at high altitudes), and the fraction of
    oxygen in the air (normaly 20%).
     
  11. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On Mon, 20 Dec 2004 06:41:33 GMT, "Phil, Squid-in-Training"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >
    > >Not to debunk the calculation, but at 19F, I think that 18.9mph estimate
    > >would probably be more like 10mph with occasional "Shit, it's cold!"

    bursts
    > >every few minutes.


    >
    > As far as I'm concerned, bicycling temperatures below 36F
    > will remain as theoretical as absolute zero.
    >
    > Let hardy, rugged types like Sheldon Brown in Massachusetts,
    > Andrew Muzi in Wisconsin, Peter Chisholm in Boulder, and
    > their ilk enjoy such winter sports!
    >
    > Of course, those who ski must wonder why fair-weather
    > cycling sissies like me make any fuss at all.


    Certainly, as someone who skied in New England for many years, I don't
    understand the fuss people make about winter cycling. We commonly skied all
    day in conditions much colder than the worst winter ride, and those rides
    are usually only a couple of hours.

    My bike club has seen a striking increase in the popularity of winter
    cycling. We have a Saturday morning ride that just celebrated a 400 week
    unbroken streak. The coldest ride was -1F last year. Saturday's ride was
    the coldest so far this year, 18F at the start. We had ~70 riders. We were
    led out by Mark McCormack, pro cyclist, winner 2003 USPro road race
    championships & NE cyclecross champion -- clearly a guy comfortable riding
    in the cold. We split into several groups, the fastest averaging over 20
    mph on a rolling course.

    At the post-ride party, I got the attendance award (as I have every year).
    I remember back at the start of this series when the common wisdom was
    hanging up the bikes for the winter. Being a newbie, and ex-skier, I didn't
    get it, so I just kept riding; over time, more & more people have been
    joining in, discovering that it's really a lot of fun. I think the
    challenge of figuring out how to dress for the variety of winter conditions
    makes it more interesting.
     
  12. Paul Kopit

    Paul Kopit Guest

    On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 15:11:53 GMT, "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >OTOH, it seems like I read somewhere that optimal body performance happens
    >somewhere in the mid fifties.


    I've heard that runners do best with the temperature in the mid 50s
    and high humidity. In other words, a cool misty day.
     
  13. dynohubbill

    dynohubbill Guest

    ....
    > >Not to debunk the calculation, but at 19F, I think that 18.9mph

    estimate
    > >would probably be more like 10mph with occasional "Shit, it's cold!"
    > >bursts every few minutes.
    > > As far as I'm concerned, bicycling temperatures below 36F
    > > will remain as theoretical as absolute zero.

    ....
    > Certainly, as someone who skied in New England for many years, I

    don't
    > understand the fuss people make about winter cycling. ...
    > My bike club has seen a striking increase in the popularity of winter
    > cycling.


    If you have the right gear it isn't that difficult to be comfortable
    riding in the winter. In the past 25 years that I've been riding
    through the winter the improvement in winter clothing for cycling has
    been amazing. My 6 mile ride into work today in 12F weather was
    comfortable, and I believe pretty much any cyclist who would do the
    same ride with the same gear would agree. It's no big deal. I'll
    agree with other posters that your road speed is lower in the winter
    for similar effort, but you can be comfortable.
    Bill Putnam
    Madison, WI USA
     
  14. << OTOH, it seems like I read somewhere that optimal body performance happens
    somewhere in the mid fifties. >><BR><BR>

    Nope it happens in the late teens early 20s. After that age, everything is a
    goin' downhill and fast.

    'no such thing as a free lunch'-Rick Ludwig
    'getting old ain't for sissies'-Betty Davis
    'time is the fire in which we all burn'-Paul Newman

    teehee-I know the guy was talkin' about cadence.

    Peter Chisholm
    Vecchio's Bicicletteria
    1833 Pearl St.
    Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535
    http://www.vecchios.com
    "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  15. RE/
    >'no such thing as a free lunch'-Rick Ludwig
    >'getting old ain't for sissies'-Betty Davis
    >'time is the fire in which we all burn'-Paul Newman


    'when you get old, you get stiff everywhere but...'-Anon
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  16. begin quoting Peter Cole <[email protected]>:
    >Certainly, as someone who skied in New England for many years, I don't
    >understand the fuss people make about winter cycling.


    Well, skiers aren't so concerned about snow and ice.

    I commute all year round by bike, but I worry about icy conditions.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Distortion Field!
     
  17. dynohubbill

    dynohubbill Guest

    David Damerell wrote:
    ....
    > I commute all year round by bike, but I worry about icy conditions.
    > --
    > David Damerell <[email protected]> Distortion Field!


    Have you tried the Nokian Hakkepeliitta studded tyre? It is very good
    on ice. More rolling resistance than a slick high pressure tyre but
    this "feature" will help keep you warm in the winter :).

    Bill Putnam
     
  18. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "David Damerell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:9qp*[email protected]

    > Well, skiers aren't so concerned about snow and ice.
    > I commute all year round by bike, but I worry about icy conditions.


    I used to also until I invested in studded tires. On the roads I ride
    (Boston), ice isn't too frequent, but it's a bit difficult to predict. I
    keep studs on one bike during the winter and use it if I think there's any
    possibility.

    BTW, as another poster has pointed out, your replies are including the
    quoted text as an attachment, my security settings require some digging &
    cut & paste to respond.
     
  19. begin quoting dynohubbill <[email protected]>:
    >David Damerell wrote:
    >>I commute all year round by bike, but I worry about icy conditions.

    >Have you tried the Nokian Hakkepeliitta studded tyre?


    I've considered it, but it's not worth it. It is hardly ever icy here -
    once or twice a year - and the roads are well gritted. On my commute we
    are literally talking about dismounting and walking for thirty feet in
    order to avoid the risk of a fall.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Distortion Field!
     
  20. Marvin

    Marvin Guest

    Right, I've now been corrected by my girlfriend (biology graduate and
    chronic asthma sufferer). Apparently all airways respond unfavourably
    to cold air, but in the vast majority of cases it's not a problem. In
    some cases it is a definite problem, but only when huge amounts of cold
    air are being gulped down. This is usually termed "exercise-induced
    asthma". Sufferers usually react especially badly either just after
    starting or just after stopping an effort.

    Symptoms include excess phlegm, wheezing, coughing or shortness of
    breath. Shortness of breath is the one that causes a drop in athletic
    performance, which is why riders from Indurain downwards have taken
    medical remedies to stop even the slightest wheeze.

    A quick Google for "exercise-induced asthma" shows, for example,
    http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1999/11_99/lacroix.htm - which
    looks like a seriously academic look at the problem.

    "EIA develops when vigorous physical activity triggers airway narrowing
    in people who have heightened bronchial reactivity (12). In short, EIA
    is a reversible airway obstruction that occurs during or after
    exertion; its symptoms include cough, wheezing, dyspnea[shortness of
    breath], and/or chest tightness.

    EIA can occur in otherwise healthy people who do not have chronic
    asthma. Exercise is the only stimulus for their asthma symptoms."

    Other information at
    http://www.allergyasthma.com/archives/asthma16.html,
    http://www.aaaai.org/patients/allergic_conditions/exercise_induced_asthma.stm
    and numerous others.

    Bottom line seems to be, if you have trouble with breathing in
    excessively cold air, there are medical treatments (most commonly the
    blue Salbutamol inhaler) which can help. However, asthma isn't
    progressive (i.e. you're not gong to make matters worse) so there's
    nothing particular to worry about. In fact given how impressive
    "exercise-induced asthma" sounds relative to its actual impact, it's
    probably worth hanging on to as an excellent excuse :cool:

    cheers
    marvin
    now far better informed about asthma than he ever expected to be
     
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